Yesterday, a friend asked how I felt about Mother’s Day.
“Do you think of your mother during Mother’s Day typically?”
It seemed like a very strange question. Maybe intrusive. Maybe just something out of sheer curiosity from someone who doesn’t understand loss in that way. Still, while the question was strange to think of, the answer to it was more than just a simple yes or no. Some people may have said “of course I do!” Some may say no because of the loss.
It’s been 25 years since my mother passed. That’s a long, long time. The obvious answer is yes, because honestly, how could you forget ? It’s the way you think and feel that changes during the years. Pain, regret, happiness, nostalgia, etc. They will always be there, but the magnitude changes all the time.
Is the loss more or less raw on certain days? In the beginning it didn’t matter what day it was, or time of year. It always hurt. When special days came up, they hurt more; they reminded me of the fact that she couldn’t be there to experience those days. She never would be. That simple reality impacted life so profoundly, that it’s impossible to ignore.
As the years went by, the intensity of the pain would fade. It would never go away, and always resurface from time to time. And then, there were the days and experiences that intensify the loss – the moments where I would have wanted to her there. Those times make the wounds resurface.
So, to the question on hand – do I think of her on Mother’s Day? Undoubtedly. It’s difficult not to. It’s impossible to avoid photos of other women with their mothers – and then know that I don’t have that. When others talk about their own mothers chiming in about parenting, I am reminded that I can never ask what motherhood was like for her. When people post multi generational photos of their families, my heart stings knowing that there’s only myself and my son. It hurts to know that I never knew her more than a young child understands their mother; I will never have the opportunity to get to know her as a person, as a confidant, and a support system.
Mother’s Day doesn’t change these feelings or add to what I already know and feel. It is simply another day to remember that she’s not here.
On the other hand, I remember good things as well. There are limited memories and instances from my childhood. I also remember the women who served as a mother figure in the absence of my own. I remember my father who had to fill both roles in her absence.
Today, I hold my son and think of how much I appreciate being his mother. I can’t help but think that I forged a bond with my mother by becoming one. While I can never hear her say it, perhaps I find that I may understand her more now than I did then. Maybe this is what she felt when she held me. Perhaps she felt the same pride when I learned something new. I too laughed like she did when my son sings funny, made-up songs . I may have felt the same frustration as my son exhibited the same behavior and personality that she told me I had at his age. Maybe I can sympathize and appreciate her experience as I work through my own.
Of course, it was hard to explain this when I was asked. It’s a mixture of so many things. But the fact remains – yes, I will always think of her.